Grace Mugabe still in SA, invokes diplomatic immunity

web_photo_Grace_Mugabe_14082017

President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace attend a rally of his ruling ZANU (PF) in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, July 29, 2017.

JOHANNESBURG - Grace Mugabe is still in South Africa and has not handed herself over to police as promised, but has invoked diplomatic immunity from prosecution. 

This is according to a statement issued by the South African Police Service (SAPS). 

A twenty year-old model told South African media that Mugabe had attacked her after she had gone to see the Mugabe's' sons Robert and Chatunga at a hotel in Sandton on Sunday.

READ: Grace Mugabe assaulted me: Joburg woman

On Tuesday, Police minister Fikile Mbalula said Mugabe had agreed to hand herself in, but this never happened. 

The latest SAPS statement says: "The suspect, (her) lawyers, and her government representatives made verbal representations to SAPS investigators that the suspect wished to invoke diplomatic immunity cover and thus she elected to change her mind about the warning statement."

According to the police, Mugabe is still in the country: "we are advised her itinerary includes amongst private matters her attendance and participation at the scheduled SADC Heads of States/Governments Summit and Bi-lateral Diplomatic Meetings already underway in Pretoria."

"Discussions with the suspect’s lawyers and the Zimbabwean High Commission representatives are taking place to make sure that the suspects is processed through the legal system," reads the statement. 

The Democratic alliance (DA) says Grace Mugabe does not qualify for diplomatic immunity. 

"According to the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act, Ms Mugabe cannot invoke diplomatic immunity. She is not here in an official capacity and the immunity extended to Heads of State is not applicable to a first lady," said the DA in a statement. 

"Ms Mugabe should have applied for diplomatic immunity before she came to our country, not after she finds herself facing criminal charges. Even DIRCO Spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, said yesterday that she does not have diplomatic immunity. Police Minister, Fikile Mbalula, must now ensure that she does not flee South Africa, like ICC-indicted Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir was previously allowed to do."